The last public action performed by John Adams came on June 30, 1826, just a few days before the founder’s death. Asked by George Whitney for a Fourth of July toast, the former president offered, “Independence forever!” No more, no less. You can’t get more American than that. Yet independence is the very thing being choked out of us at an ever-quickening gait. And Congress just gave that horse another sharp kick in the ribs.
The House of Representatives’ failure to spike a federal “kill switch” mandate means that outside of a political miracle, all new vehicles from 2026 onward will be required to incorporate “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology.” It will “passively monitor the performance of a driver” and automatically disable the vehicle “if impairment is detected.” In other words: You will no longer have control of your car. Some outside entity — human or program — could, at any time, make it inoperable.
Naturally, the message repeaters have assured us that talk of a kill switch is just more right-wing conspiracy theory hyper-frenzy. After all, this is about safety. Think of the lives it will save! No more hit-and-runs caused by drunk drivers. No more near-sighted old codgers not seeing the 12-year-old girl until it was too late. You breathe a word against this wonderful new thing and you out yourself as a monster who wants children dead.
Of course, the elephant in the corner is: What assurance do we have that “impairment” just means drunkenness, drug use — the usual things? What assurance do we have that this narrow definition will never be widened?
We now live in a world where the Department of Justice describes parents objecting to porn being read in classrooms and kept in school libraries as “domestic terrorists”; where FBI swat teams in full Robocop beat down the doors of Catholic, pro-life activists as if they were drug lords; where clear cases of self-defense are prosecuted as hate crimes; where lawyers are arrested and duck walked through county jails for the audacity of representing a client the Borg hates; and where people with regime-opposite opinions/affiliations are described as “f-cking animals” before being personally threatened and given the photobomb treatment.
Does anyone think “impairment” won’t be widened so the Borg can punish its enemies more? Especially when its members are openly talking about the need for Republicans, Trump voters, and conservatives to be “reprogrammed”? Sure, some of these people, like David Atkins and Katie Couric are small potatoes and nobodies. But Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Lady Frankenstein who won a Pulitzer for creating a freakazoid fantasy of American history that’s now being taught to grade schoolers? Hillary Clinton? If these power reservoirs are making this sentiment public, the vast layers beneath them in the left’s hierarchy are openly salivating for it. Redefinitions of the word will be cheered by them.
Since “impairment” probably will be redefined by the Borg, the kill switch is perfectly positioned to be weaponized in the future, another wheel in the social credit system in the process of being built here at home. Express an “extremist” view on Facebook? That might mean a week with a non-functioning car. Does your banking history show you donated to Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump, your local pro-life group, or even just your church (the one that still hatefully insists marriage is between a man and a woman)? You might be too dangerous to let on the road.
Americans will then be faced with a stark choice: Hold fast to their convictions or dilute them to gain the privilege of driving. And if you are still dependent on your car to go to work (you’re not going to live in a 15-minute city), or need to drive 200 miles to see your parents or your kids, what choice are you going to make?
But even if the kill switch were simply about saving lives and “impairment” were forever narrowly defined, implementing it would still be a dagger to independence. Today, the onus for being a responsible driver is on you. No fairy godfather prevents us from texting and driving, no good witches of the interstate protect us against highway hypnosis, no cricket with a top hat appears to warn us not to drink before sliding into the driver’s seat. Instead, we have to do what we ought and not what we want.
Unsurprisingly, this was the idea of freedom held by the founders, by Lincoln, by John Paul II, and pretty much every ordinary American through the first half of the 20th century. More importantly, according to these men, independence could only be maintained among a population that believed in, cherished, and strove for this idea of freedom.
This is why the archetype of the yeoman farmer was so powerful in the 18th century. The farmer was disciplined, hard-working, honest, prudent. Earning his livelihood by wrestling with nature cultivated the virtues necessary for him to be a self-governing citizen — virtues (it was expected) he would pass to his children, forming a continual cycle of past, present, and future. He and his family had the habit of independence. But this habit was not guaranteed. It could be lost like any other.
In 1798, John Adams warned that should Americans lose the virtues that made independence possible, should they display “in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while … rioting in rapine and Insolence,” these United States would become “the most miserable Habitation in the World.” In many ways, we have already devolved into a nation of thumb-sucking perpetual teenagers. Look at zoomers crying on TikTok, at the academics and military brass bloviating about white anger, and at the rural communities ripped apart by drugs and despair. Even in the best scenario, nanny cars would be poison dressed as medicine.
If people are incapable of independence, they are incapable of self-government. Which raises the question: What will replace our form of government? Some hope for Red Caesar; others pant for Blue Sulla. Adrian Vermeule and his disciples pray for a 12th century-style Catholic monarchy complete with a state church; others see a national divorce. The most likely answer is AI.
For all the hysteria over Terminators, Skynet, and the complete erasure of the line between man and machine, the real dangers of AI are much more monotonous and deadly. James Poulos recently warned that the cracks and contradictions in the left — quite visible now because of the Israel-Hamas War — are yet another imperative for the Borg to become its namesake, for the bureaucracy to submit all policies and proposals (and with them all our lives) to an UberAlgorithm which will parse through the pyramid of oppression, identity politics, competing issues, claims, and counterclaims and render judgment from a digital throne of Solomon.
Between giving up their ideology and subserving us to an algorithm, the Borg will always choose to do what protects its power the most, even if that means ceding real authority to a little man behind a curtain who isn’t really there. In this scenario, the kill switch could move beyond reprogramming and make us part of itself. It’s possible that, in the future, how often and where you drive will be calculated by a host of different data points that transform us from human beings into manageable chunks of information, pawns moved on an endless chessboard.
The good news is that the final curtain hasn’t fallen yet. We can still be a free and independent people — if we can find the will to resist.